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WST announce Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters as “fourth major”

Jonathan Davies in Snooker News

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WST have announced the launch of the lucrative Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters this August, and what will be the sport’s “fourth major”.

The inaugural event, which will have a prize fund of over £2million, is joined by the World Pool Championship as part of a 10-year partnership between the World Snooker Tour and World Nineball Tour with the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation and the Ministry of Sport for Saudi Arabia.

This will see the two tournaments held annually with the aim of transforming cue sports in the Middle East.

With the World Pool Championship taking place at the Green Halls in Jeddah in June, the inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will follow in Riyadh from August 31 to September 7.

Officially becoming snooker’s “fourth major” alongside the other Triple Crown events – and the second-most lucrative on the calendar in 2024 – the new ranking event will be open to all 128 players on the World Snooker Tour, along with six local wild cards selected by the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation.

It will be the second tournament to take place in Saudi Arabia in 2024, with the inaugural World Masters of Snooker taking place in Riyadh next month.

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport chairman, said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has forged a reputation for growth and creating new opportunities for sports to grow in a new market to new fans.

“The country has hosted some of the world’s premier sporting events in recent years, welcoming visitors from all over to experience its passion for sport and unique culture.

“The addition of both the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters and World Pool Championship over the next decade further enhances that as it heralds an exciting chapter for Snooker and Nineball pool.

“We have seen the incredible impact Boxing has had in this region. Now, I believe we will see Billiards cement its legacy here too, creating incredible opportunities and competition for the finest players on the planet.”

HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Minister of Sport – and President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee Sports – added: “Saudi Arabia is an ever-emerging home to all sports and we’re excited by the opportunity to add new world-class events in snooker and Nineball pool to our growing year-round calendar.

“Hosting global events is all part of our strategy to grow all sports and to inspire our people to participate by giving them the chance to enjoy live sporting action.

“We are a young country with a young population and the approach is working. Since 2018, we’ve hosted over 100 international sports events and during that time sports participation has more than tripled.”